Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access JSTOR through your library or other institution:

login

Log in through your institution.

Journal Article

Overweight and Depression

Catherine E. Ross
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 35, No. 1 (Mar., 1994), pp. 63-79
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2137335
Page Count: 17
  • Download ($14.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Add to My Lists
  • Cite this Item
Overweight and Depression
Preview not available

Abstract

Is being overweight distressing? If it is, is the distress due to negative appraisals by others, to the stresses of trying to fit norms of thinness by dieting, or to the health consequences of being overweight? If being overweight is stigmatizing, negative evaluations by others may be internalized as high levels of depression. This perspective predicts that being overweight has a direct effect on depression, and that the effect is greater in social groups where being overweight is less common, especially among women, Whites, younger people, the well-educated, and the well-to-do. Alternatively, overweight may not be distressing per se. Instead, attempting to fit norms of appearance that equate thinness with attractiveness by dieting is distressing. According to this perspective, the association between being overweight and depression is explained by dieting. Finally, this association may be due to the health consequences of being overweight. A random sample of 2,020 U.S. adults aged 18-90 were interviewed by telephone in 1990. Results showed that being overweight has no direct effect on depression in any social group except among the well-educated. Overweight persons are more likely to diet and to experience worse physical health, both of which are associated with depression. Combined, these explain the negative effects of being overweight on depression.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
63
    63
  • Thumbnail: Page 
64
    64
  • Thumbnail: Page 
65
    65
  • Thumbnail: Page 
66
    66
  • Thumbnail: Page 
67
    67
  • Thumbnail: Page 
68
    68
  • Thumbnail: Page 
69
    69
  • Thumbnail: Page 
70
    70
  • Thumbnail: Page 
71
    71
  • Thumbnail: Page 
72
    72
  • Thumbnail: Page 
73
    73
  • Thumbnail: Page 
74
    74
  • Thumbnail: Page 
75
    75
  • Thumbnail: Page 
76
    76
  • Thumbnail: Page 
77
    77
  • Thumbnail: Page 
78
    78
  • Thumbnail: Page 
79
    79